CDOT wants to open Independence Pass by Friday evening | VailDaily.com

CDOT wants to open Independence Pass by Friday evening

A Colorado Department of Transportation crew works May 16 to clear a path to the summit of Independence Pass from the Pitkin County side.
Jason Auslander / The Aspen Times

State transportation crews are shooting to open Independence Pass by Friday evening, an official said Wednesday.

The road — which normally opens the Thursday before Memorial Day — should be open by 5:30 p.m. Friday, said Tracy Trulove, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

“We’re going to give them the whole day (Friday) to get it done,” Trulove said.

CDOT will post updates to social media (@ColoradoDOT) and at COtrip.org by mid-day Friday on the progress and whether the road will open for sure, she said.

Crews are making solid headway repairing a 100-foot section of guardrail on the Pitkin County side and have cleared the parking lot at the top and paths to the bathrooms, she said.

Contrary to previous updates, CDOT crews on the Twin Lakes side only reached the summit late Tuesday for the first time, Trulove said. Crews on the Pitkin County side reached the 12,095-foot summit May 17, she said.

The massive amount of snow this winter coupled with avalanches have delayed the Pass’ opening. Slide paths on the Twin Lakes side just above the winter closure gate are much larger than those on the Pitkin County side, Trulove said.

“It’s mind-blowing,” she said.

It is one of the latest openings since 2008, when the pass did not open until June 5 because of the heavy snow season that winter.

Trucks longer than 35 feet never are allowed on Independence Pass. Drivers who violate that law can be fined as much as $1,500.